How to Prepare our Cities For Autonomous Vehicles

Three revolutions are coming, according to a report from the Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS) program at the University of California at Davis and the Institute for Transportation Development and Policy (ITDP): Electrification, automation, and shared mobility. The study analyzed transportation patterns in eight global markets and found that:

- Electrification can reduce auto energy use by 70 percent.

- Automation can improve safety and cut the cost of transport by 40 percent

- Shared mobility can reduce congestion by 50 percent.

The first two revolutions can’t happen without the third. “Without a concurrent shift away from personal vehicle ownership and toward ride sharing, the potential for autonomous electric vehicles to reduce traffic and sprawl are extremely limited,” the report said. “If passenger vehicles do not become predominantly shared by 2050, our cities will continue to be chocked by congestion,” said ITDP’s Jacob Mason. “Instead, the urban residents should ride electric, automated, and shared vehicles into a cleaner and healthier future.”

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